High School Student Hosts Virtual Art Classes for Kids to Support the Amazon
December 11, 2020
High school student Madeleine Herberger has always had a passion for animals and the environment, and last year she was able to visit the Amazon Basin in Peru, nearby where our conservation hubs of Los Amigos, Villa Carmen, and Wayqecha operate. Reflecting on that trip she says, “I was able to spend four incredible days soaking up the awesome beauty and nature there, learning facts about leaf ant highways, tarantulas, clay licks, and more.”
One aspect of the trip that stood out to her was the amazing range of biodiversity found in this particular region of the Amazon, the headwaters to the Amazon basin. The Amazon’s diverse forests are home to 10% of the world’s known wildlife species, and Madeleine remembers how, “One of the group members photographed a suspected undiscovered insect. This experience made me realize how much the Amazon holds and how important it really is not just to the region, but to our entire world ecosystem.” Not only does a healthy Amazon provide an important mosaic of habitats for over 350 endangered and endemic species, it also serves as a climate regulator, storing over 150 billion metric tons of carbon—more than a third of all the carbon stored in tropical forests worldwide. Amazon forests also absorb 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year, representing 5% of global annual emissions.
But Madeleine’s trip also revealed to her how the Amazon is being threatened, as it nears closer to its “tipping point”. This is when the Amazon will no longer be able to generate its own rainfall and support its rainforest ecosystems. Estimates place the current deforestation level of the Amazon at 17%, and its tipping point at 20-25%. If the tipping point is surpassed, the largest rainforest on Earth could become—at best—a dry grassland. So after returning to the United States, Madeleine planned to share this experience with others and raise awareness on the importance of the Amazon rainforest.
Citing her experience and enjoyment working with children as a babysitter, she came up with a series of virtual art lessons for kids for her school senior project, each focusing on an “amazing animal”, such as macaws, sloths, and leaf-cutter ants. Not only do children learn how to draw the animal, but the lesson also includes fun facts about the species and their English and Spanish names. “These virtual lessons would also help parents who might need a break trying to come up with ways to entertain their children during the pandemic, as well as bring the cause to their attention,” she adds.
It is always inspiring when the next generation of conservationists find new and creative ways to promote conservation in the Amazon. Madeleine says, “I hope to create a series of art lessons that have educational elements focused on Amazonian wildlife, with an overarching theme of raising awareness about the importance of the Amazon basin.”
Classes are free of charge, with optional donations to support Amazon Conservation’s programs that protect the Amazon and all of the important species and communities that call it home. Click here to support Madeleine and the protection of the Amazon rainforest.
The next class is at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12th. Click here to register.
Classes will run every week on Saturday from 11:00-11:45 a.m. Click here to register.
Contact Madeleine Herberger at the above link for more information.